Recruitment experts have warned employers that hiring staff via social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can produce legal difficulties. As a result they are encouraging employers to refine their social networking recruitment policies to avoid claims of unfair discrimination, and other dangers.

A few of the potential problems have been illustrated as:

  • A candidate of ethnic origin or religious intent being rejected after photos and profile pictures were pursued online.
  • A jobseeker being refused to interview after a video of them in an unfavourable light was seen.
  • Losing an employee to a rival who then takes with them the thousands of contacts that they built up on a networking site paid for by the employer.

Adrain Marlowe, the managing director of Lawspeed, specialising in Recruitment Law, said  that “legally the individual is entitled to be told the reason why their application has been rejected.” So, “if the applicant is black or wears religious clothing and they’re rejected, that individual could say: ‘You’ve seen my video on YouTube and you’re rejecting me on racial or religious grounds’.”

Employers are also being encouraged to inform managers not to use social networking sites in some cases, throughout the process of recruitment. It has further been suggested that employers might want to specify that if staff leave then they must surrender their contacts on sites where membership is paid for by the employer.

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